January 2013: Oh, no! Zoot alors! Sylvie and Jean-Marie have sold the restaurant! Quelle dommage! We will have to wait until out next trip to France to see if someone good has taken over the new Petit. Otherwise, if Sylvie and Jean-Marie open another place in Paris, or elsewhere in France, we will let you know. Here is the review we wrote in the Fall-Winter of 2012-2013:
Le Petit Célestin is a warm, friendly, red-checked tablecloth place that does not list the menu in English or serve as a tourist outpost in Paris.
Yet this small restaurant on the edge of the Marais welcomes everyone with a relaxed atmosphere and a selection of delicious, traditional offerings on its blackboard menu.
Host Sylvie is vivacious, funny and friendly and speaks English so she can explain the menu to English speakers without French language skills. She is sensitive to varying perceptions of “medium rare” and “à point” for meat dishes, and is helpful with recommendations. Her cheerful warmth sets the tone for a fun and relaxed evening.
We have visited Le Petit Célestin with groups as small as four and as large as 10. The prices are truly reasonable with most plats (main dish) in the mid-teens and most entrées (starters) less. There is always a cut of steak (pave or entrecote) duck (magret) and slightly more exotic veals—foie, rognons, or riz—which are mild but savory. Plus you will find shrimp or fish. The main course is served with a supporting starch and vegetable.
Our favorite starter is moules farci (mussels broiled in the half shell with garlicky breading.) A small hors d’ouevre appears while you discuss the menu choices and share an aperitif. Desserts are traditional and worth the calories. The wine selection is affordable and appropriate for the cuisine.
A summer treat…salade de gésiers from Perigord.
The new “team” as of 2012: Sylvie, Cédric and Jean-Marie. Sylvie and Jean-Marie are your hosts… Sylvie speaks English, as well as French, and is jovial and helpful…and Cédric provides attentive and quick service.
As you’ve guessed, this is one of our favorite local restos – traditional cuisine, great atmosphere, and reasonable prices, especially for the Marais. Just a few short blocks from the Sully-Morland Metro stop (Line 7) on Quai des Célestins.
12, Quai des Célestins, 75004 Paris Tel: +33 (0)1 42 72 20 81
For more info & images of France, please visit Notes on France.